Mueller report finds no Trump-Russia conspiracy

23:10, 24 March 2019
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flickr.com/Matt Johnson

Mueller also did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute obstruction of justice, Barr wrote, but he did not exonerate the President, according to CNN.

"The special counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election," the four-page letter sent to Congress states.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the determination that the evidence was "not sufficient" to support a prosecution of the President for obstruction of justice.

"While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," Barr quotes Mueller as saying.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the letter is a "total and complete exoneration" of Trump.

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"The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction," Sanders said. "AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States."

Mueller's team has no plans to issue any new indictments.

"The report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the special counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public," the letter states.

The special counsel's office employed a massive effort through the court system and in interviewing witnesses to reach its findings. In all, Mueller's team interviewed about 500 witnesses and obtained more than 3,500 subpoenas and warrants of various types -- the bulk of which were subpoenas -- and 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence.

Barr and Rosenstein said they could not bring a criminal case with proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump's actions obstructed a specific proceeding.

Barr notes the "absence of such evidence" related to crimes around the Russian election interference weighed on his decision regarding obstruction.

In his letter, Barr says that Mueller's investigation into obstruction of justice found the President's actions were not "done with corrupt intent."

"In cataloguing the President's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department's principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense."

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The 22-month special counsel probe led to charges against 37 defendants, which included six Trump associates, 26 Russians and three Russian companies. Seven defendants have pleaded guilty, and one, Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was convicted at trial.

While Mueller's investigation is over, several criminal investigations are still ongoing.

They relate to an alleged Russian conspiracy to blast political propaganda across Americans' social media networks; Manafort's political colleague from Russia, Konstantin Kilimnik; and what Manafort's deputy and a central Trump political player, Rick Gates, knows, according to court records.

Another is a grand jury's pursuit of documents from a company owned by a foreign government. That subpoena for documents began with Mueller last year.

The DC US Attorney's Office will pick up many of the open court cases, including Gates and former Trump adviser Roger Stone. And the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan continues to look into Trump's inauguration and allegations waged by Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.

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